Henna for Weddings and Celebrations

Henna for Weddings and Celebrations

The gorgeous art of henna is a traditional form of body art that has been practiced for centuries in many countries of the world, particularly throughout South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where henna was first used to dye hair, nails, and skin. It was also used for medicine for treating burns and skin conditions. Over time, it became a symbol of celebration; now we see henna for weddings, festivals, and other special occasions. The use of this delicate artform has deep roots in and particular significance for the following religions.

  1. Islam: Henna is a significant part of Islamic culture and is often used to celebrate Eid, weddings, and other religious festivals. It is also believed to be Sunnah (a practice of the Prophet Muhammad).
  2. Hinduism: Henna is used extensively in Hindu weddings and other religious celebrations, such as Karva Chauth and Diwali. It is believed to bring good luck and is also used for cosmetic purposes.
  3. Sikhism: Henna is used in Sikh weddings and other religious festivals, such as Vaisakhi. It is believed to symbolize the strength of the bond between the couple.
  4. Judaism: Henna is used in some Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewish communities to decorate the hands of brides before their wedding ceremony.
  5. Christianity: Henna is not commonly used in Christian practices, but some Christian brides may use it as a form of body art during their wedding celebrations.
Photographed by Laëtitia Photography - Chicago, Illinois wedding photographers

To apply henna, artists use a paste made from the leaves of the henna plant directly to the skin with special tools. The paste dries, then flakes off, leaving behind a rich copper colored stain that can last for several weeks. The designs may be intricate or simple, and can range from floral patterns to geometric shapes to symbols that have cultural and religious significance.

Photographed by Callaway Gable - Los Angeles, California wedding photographers

Here are some of the most popular henna designs used today:

  1. Paisleys: These teardrop-shaped henna designs are regularly featured in henna art and can be incorporated into a variety of designs.
  2. Florals: Flowers and leaves are popular motifs in henna designs, with roses, lotuses, and daisies being particularly common.
  3. Mandala: These circular henna designs are made up of intricate patterns and can range from simple to highly detailed.
  4. Arabic designs: Arabic henna designs often feature bold, sweeping lines and curves, with floral and geometric motifs like triangles, stars, and circles.
  5. Indian designs: Intricate Indian henna designs incorporate paisleys, flowers, and peacocks, as well gorgeous patterns and motifs
  6. Moroccan designs: May also feature geometric shapes and patterns, with lots of intricate details and shading.
  7. African designs: Often incorporate tribal motifs and symbols, such as animals and patterns inspired by nature.

And of course, brides may also incorporate their own designs to create a one-of-a-kind work of art.

Photographed by Rayan Anastor Photography - Michigan wedding photographers
Photographed by La Vie Photography - San Juan Island, Washington wedding photographers
Photographed by Alante Photography - Seattle, Washington wedding photographers

Nowadays, people around the world use henna for weddings and it is considered a symbol of good luck and protection. Often applied to the hands and feet of brides before their wedding day it is said to ward off evil spirits and ensure a happy marriage, and who doesn’t want that extra bit of good luck? 

Photographed by Santiago Almada Photography - Phoenix, Arizona wedding photographers

Note: With rising popularity particularly in Western countries, it is often used as a fashion statement or as a form of temporary body art. There is no doubt that henna for weddings looks lovely and can be a focal point of a bride’s fashion. However, because it has deeply rooted cultural significance, it may be considered by some to be culturally inappropriate to wear it if you are not from one of the cultures listed above. Be aware of this issue and make your decisions accordingly. 

Photographed by Anna Schmidt Photography - Phoenix, Arizona wedding photographers

To find more beautiful fashion ideas for your wedding, check out our Fashion Gallery and find the looks that fit your style!